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Physical descriptions in military records
Friday, 10 July 2009
As part of the appendices to a marriage record, the groom had to submit proof that he had fulfilled his military duties. This certificate of the National Militia often contains a physical description. In some cases, the physical description is left blank, for example if the man did not have to serve because he had brothers in the army already. This article will give an overview of the most frequent Dutch terms and their translations.
See this Flickr slideshow of some of the certificates of the National Militia in my collection. After you hit play, use the button on the lower right corner to view the samples fullscreen.
The form itself
Ell, old meassurement (see below).
Thumb, old meassurement (see below).
Stripe, old meassurement (see below).
Oogen / ogen
Id., idem, identiek
Identical (i.e.: same as the previous feature)
Lidtekeen, lidteken, litteeken, litteken
Example: 'klein lidteeken op de linkerwang' = 'small scar on the left cheek'.
The height of the men is often recorded in el, duim (d.), streep (str.). These are old names for meassures. However, they have been converted to metric and are used as such. 1 el = 1 meter (3'4"), 1 duim = 10 centimeters (4"), 1 streep = 1 centimeter (0.4"). So if somebody is 1 el 72 str. or 1 el 7 d. 2 str., this simply means he's 1.72 meters tall (about 5'8").